Mixed Blessings (March 5, 2009)

Hubby got a job. A job with Comcast. It’s a 4-6 month contract-to-hire position. That’s not exactly longterm security, but in this economy…well I don’t need to tell any of you. It also pays darned good money, enough so that we can sock away a bit more while bracing for another possible hunt over the summer. But, though this is exactly what I’ve prayed would happen, as with any boon, there is always a catch. Eddie will have to travel back and forth to Denver, Colorado every week from Monday at 4AM, until Friday night at 11 or midnight. That’s going to be rough on him personally, and hell on our marriage in terms of time spent together. Believe me, this is no whine. We need this, and most critically, Eddie needs this. But I will miss him terribly.

We’ve done this before. In the 6 months leading up to our wedding in Raipur, India, Eddie was away each week on a project in Phoenix. We lived almost next door to O’Hare at that time, and he always returned on Thursday night. This was rough, especially on a bride to be, but back then he slept at home more nights than he was away.

The first 7 months of our marriage, Eddie was away in Red Bank, New Jersey, and I again held down the fort at home. The one thing that rendered this bearable to a newlywed wife was that I got him to agree that we’d move back to the City, pronto. It did make things slightly harder on him in terms of getting to the airport and back, but thankfully that was a sacrifice he was willing to make for my sanity. What really killed us both with this project were the 16-18 hour days Eddie put in as a leader of the team. More often than not, this work schedule was in effect even on Saturday and Sunday. One week, he just didn’t come home at all. Comcast at least states that they keep a pretty regular 9-5, Monday-Friday routine (and judging from the crap service I receive as one of their customers, I can attest to their immovability on that front), so I am keeping in mind that my sadness over the imminent disruption to our homelife can only pale in comparison to the trials we endured in 2008.

The field that Eddie has chosen for his career definitely lends itself to high earning potential. But it also comes with risks. One of those is volatility. The work is usually temporary, which creates a lot of opportunity to try new things and see new faces. But as I have seen throughout the worst of this economic downturn, that benefit of change can quickly turn to a disadvantage when you are a temp worker and payrolls are being sliced. There are no unemployment insurance benefits to collect. There’s no real way of knowing when your next paycheck is coming, even if you saved during your employed period.

But as a wife who genuinely and truly adores her husband (Jen and I have that in common), I can tell you that money means nothing when you have to look at your husband’s face after he returns home from months of living in hotel rooms and rental cars, working like a dog, just so he can give you the financial security he thinks you deserve. You just want to grab his weary body and never let him walk back out the door. I am proud of him. The job he has landed is nothing but wonderful, especially when you consider the many other people out there who are forced to make tougher choices than these everyday. But I can’t lie to myself. It won’t be so easy.

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